In an industry known for its complex operations and vast network of suppliers, distributors, and customers, the use of digital documents has already proven to be a faster, more secure and efficient alternative to paper-based processes. 

Unfortunately, some logistics leaders are held back by outdated assumptions about digital documentation, making them reluctant to embrace, and ultimately, benefit from this technology. 

It’s time to bust some myths! Let’s dispel five common misconceptions that prevent logistics leaders from realizing the full potential of digital documentation: 

1. Integrating with existing platforms and systems is difficult. 

After decades, even centuries, of managing a myriad of paper documents, from bills of lading to invoices and letters of credit, these established systems and processes have become ingrained - making them appear too difficult and time-consuming to replace or modify. 

Even those who are keen to adopt digital systems may face incompatibility issues when they attempt to integrate with other digital documents and processes.  

Yet integrating new systems with your existing ones is both achievable and beneficial, by investing in the right digital systems that meet agreed industry standards to ensure compatibility and ease of use, without disrupting ongoing operations and workflows – so that you can reap the benefits of greater efficiency, accuracy, traceability and visibility. 

2. Digital documents are too vulnerable to data leaks.  

With so much information moving across the industry to support increasingly complex logistics processes, data is one of your most valuable assets.  

Digital documents being more vulnerable to data breaches from malicious cyber-attacks or human error is another commonly held misconception. 

However, with the proper systems in place, digitization improves security, by strengthening internal controls, restricting access to information, audit trails that detect tampering and encryption options as well as robust backup and recovery processes. 

By consolidating and digitizing all your documentation, you can eliminate the need for multiple data exchange channels while minimizing potential vulnerabilities, allowing you to rest easy knowing that your data is protected against unauthorized access, manipulation, and theft. 

3. It’s too expensive to go digital. 

If senior logistics leaders focus on just the upfront costs of configuring, maintaining, and supporting digital documentation software, maintaining paper-based processes may appear to be a cost-effective business decision. But this does not consider the long term financial and operational benefits - the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) over time. 

In fact, digital documentation software can generate significant savings and efficiencies over time. Paper-based process necessitate ongoing costs associated with printing, storing, and retrieving physical documents, not to mention the risk of lost or damaged documents.  

It is important for all stakeholders, from on-the-ground operators through to executives in the c-suite, to reassess their assumptions, and view the implementation of digital documentation as an investment in long term efficiency, accuracy, and visibility. 

4. People prefer traditional methods. 

For centuries, paper-based processes have served as our primary means of communication, note-taking, and record-keeping. 

As a result, businesses and individuals alike are both accustomed to its tactile and visual qualities and prefer it as a trusted and familiar medium. 

By relying on outdated methods, you risk providing your customers with outdated service, which can lead to dissatisfaction. In today's digital age, customers are accustomed to utilizing digital processes in various aspects of their personal, leisure, and work lives. Therefore, if they are unable to access the same level of convenience, speed, and visibility when interacting with logistics providers, they are likely to become frustrated. 

It’s essential that all parties across the supply chain embrace new ways of working in order to remain competitive and agile in today’s ever-evolving global marketplace. 

5. Legal and regulatory compliance is too complex to go digital. 

Despite the interconnected nature of our global supply chains, countries and governments continue to implement individual rules and regulations legislating the use of digital documents, which can cause confusion and create barriers to adoption. 

For example, some countries may not legally recognize eBLs, or may require specific digital signature or authentication methods. 

It’s understandable that tracking changes across multiple regulatory frameworks simultaneously becomes a daunting task, requiring immense vigilance and adaptability - with most logistics organizations lacking the required capacity or expertise to accomplish effectively. This might make it seem like it is too difficult to digitize these processes and keep them up to date. 

Thankfully, purpose-built software solutions can provide a centralized platform for storing and sharing documents securely, while offering validation and verification of digital signatures and authentication methods to ensure compliance with local regulations. 

Centralizing your documentation across all the geographies you operate in will allow your teams to adapt quickly to evolving legislative requirements, while enhancing the accuracy and speed of information exchange to reduce duplication of effort and streamline workflows. 

Place yourself at the technological forefront in managing international and cross-border logistics with CargoWise's powerful digital documentation capabilities. Get in touch 

Our global CargoWise Partner network helps customers of all sizes implement and configure CargoWise to suit your business needs. Learn more 

Sign up to our CargoWise Newsletter

Subscribe for the latest updates on new CargoWise functionality, success stories from our customers, and insights from our global team.